'You and I both know one or more of them is lying': Five young men accused of Northampton murder close defence cases

Reece Ottaway, 23, was stabbed to death in February this year in a flat in Cordwainer House. Four young men are accused of his murder.
Reece Ottaway, 23, was stabbed to death in February this year in a flat in Cordwainer House. Four young men are accused of his murder.

All five defence barristers in a Northampton murder trial say each of their own clients did not stab Reece Ottaway to death.

A trial over the death of a 23-year-old man in February this year during a botched armed robbery for drugs and money is drawing to a close.

All five young men charged with Reece's murder deny being the one who stabbed him to death.

All five young men charged with Reece's murder deny being the one who stabbed him to death.

Reece Ottaway was fatally stabbed seven times in flat in Cordwainer House, St James, in what has been described as a "berserk" attack with a machete and a knife.

All five young men accused of Reece Ottaway's murder deny taking part in the fatal stabbing at Cordwainer House on February 1.

At Northampton Crown Court today (October 25), the jury heard the last of each boy's defence cases ahead of them being sent out to deliberate.

"Reece was murdered by one or more of the defendants," said one barrister, Andrew Campbell QC. "Therefore you and I both know one or more of them is lying."

The trial over Reece's murder is drawing to a close after some five weeks of evidence.

The trial over Reece's murder is drawing to a close after some five weeks of evidence.

Mr Campbell - defending Cameron Higgs, 20, of Chestnut Close, Milton Malsor - says that although his client took a knife to the flat, he took no part in the stabbing and "doesn't have the machismo" to be a murderer.

He told the jury: "This case is saturated with knives [...] Mr Higgs took a knife with him. He admitted that, and the other barristers in this case have seized on that to make him look guilty.

"But nearly everyone involved in this case is involved with knives. Can you be certain another defendant didn't take one?

"Someone in that dock lost it and someone else helped them. Who are the two most likely characters to do that? We say it is not Cameron Higgs."

Higgs was the only defendant in the case to give evidence in the witness box. He admitted taking a knife and says he did not produce it.

He also avoided many of the court's questions by replying: "I can't say, I don't want to be a snitch".

It comes after Mr Richard Jory QC spelt out his own interpretation of the evidence on Wednesday in a bid to say his own client - Ethan Sterling, 21, of Baukewell Court, Lumbertubs - from jail.

He told the jury: "Evidence shows Reece was injured by two bladed weapons.

"Three wounds were likely inflicted by Cameron Higgs, and are consistent with the knife he carried.

"And the other wounds were likely inflicted by Adison Smith with the machete.

"And he was hit in the back by the baseball bat likely carried by Alfie Drage.

"And they were likely encouraged by Jordan Kimpton, who held the BB gun to Reece's head.

"Ethan Stirling said all this in his police interview. He said he stayed in the hallway and, we say, did not enter the flat."

All of the defendants except Stirling have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob Reece of drugs and money.

One of the defendants, Adison Smith, 20, of no fixed address, was stabbed in the leg during the events in Cordwainer House. He was accused by Mr Jory of 'losing it' after this injury and 'going berserk' with a machete.

His defence barrister, Mr James House QC, said in response today: "Adison Smith was stabbed in the leg the moment he entered the flat, after he was rugby tackled by Reece.

"Is there any evidence that [Smith] was able to hop to their feet after this serious injury and retaliate? [...] He had to be dragged away from the flat by Jordan Kimpton.

"The reality is another member of the group stabbed him with the machete by mistake after Reece tackled him to the floor."

It was revealed in court last week that Smith stabbed a man with a machete after mistaking him for someone else in October 2018.

During that incident, one of the defendant's, Jordan Crowley aka Jordan Kimpton, 21, of Sam Harrison Way, Duston, reportedly 'encouraged' Smith to carry out the attack.

Kimpton is accused of holding a BB gun to Reece's head and encouraging his co-defendants to stab the 23-year-old.

His barrister, Mr Andrew Bousfield, told the jury: "You've seen Mr Kimpton in this trial. You don't like the way he behaves, or what he gets up to, or how he dresses. You might think he's a bad character and reprehensible and therefore he's guilty.

"That is simply a cross-armed dogmatic refusal to listen to the evidence [...] He was not seen with a [bladed weapon]. We say he did not stab Reece Ottaway [...] or encourage the others to go further than was planned."

The last defendant, Alfie Drage, 20, of Clover Street, Upton, was accused by the prosecutor of striking Reece on the buttock with a baseball bat.

His barrister, Michael McAlinden, claims "not one witness" saw Drage carrying or wielding a baseball bat.

He told the jury: "There is no forensic evidence in this case - none at all - to the use of a baseball bat. No such bat has ever been found.

"Alfie Drage had no weapon in his hands that night."

The jury is expected to be sent out to deliberate on Tuesday.